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Sri Lanka parliament elects new leader

During a major drama, former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country earlier this week. His formal resignation has now been accepted and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe will replace him until a new president is appointed.

On Saturday, Parliament will meet, if it can agree, to elect a new president to sit in Rajapaksas during his term, which ends in 2024.

Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abhiwardana hopes the process will be completed within a week.

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe (right) is sworn in as interim president before the country’s chief legal officer Jayantha Jayasuriya (left) in the capital, Colombo. picture: Presidential Administration / Environmental Protection Agency July 15, 2022

Cancel curfew

The change of leadership comes after months of political turmoil and economic hardship in the country, with demonstrations and mass protests emerging as a result. There is a shortage of both food and fuel in Sri Lanka and the country often suffers from prolonged power outages. Inflation is rising and there is not enough foreign currency to import important goods.

Protesters have long held former President Rajapaksa responsible for the crisis in the country, but they have also demanded the resignation of new Vice President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

– He is a supporter of Gotabaya and others of the Rajapaksa family. Help them. And protester Veleuynatha Pillai, 73, says he should go, too.

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Protesters in Sri Lanka stormed the residence of President Rajapaksa on Saturday. picture: TT

The Prime Minister’s Residence

Earlier this week The crowd stormed The residence of the former prime minister and clashed with the security forces. The President’s Palace was also stormed.

Then one protester told the BBC that a protest against Ranil Wickremesinghe was expected in the coming days.

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